Gov. Bentley tours Limestone Co. tornado damage - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Gov. Bentley tours Limestone Co. tornado damage

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Gov. Bentley and his wife, Dianne, talk about the storm with the owner of Billy and Barb's Trailer Court. Gov. Bentley and his wife, Dianne, talk about the storm with the owner of Billy and Barb's Trailer Court.
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LIMESTONE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said he has been to North Alabama "too many times" to see tornado damage, and every time he does, it is just as tough.

Bentley toured the tornado-ravaged community of Coxey where two people were killed on Monday. Limestone County officials estimate initial costs total $2.75-million in infrastructure and response.

On Wednesday morning, Bentley met the owner of Billy and Barb's Trailer Court, where 80 people left their mobile homes for the safety of a community storm shelter.

The owner said five residents chose not to go to the shelter, and two of them were killed. They were identified as 60-year-old Dorothy Jean Hollis and 33-year-old Carlton Earl Hollis.

"I would like to say that our prayers go out to their family," said Bentley.

The trailer park owner told Bentley that another woman who did not go to the shelter because she didn't want to leave her dog suffered a broken neck.

As he surveyed the damage left behind by the tornado, Bentley said he wants to work to get more community shelters in place, especially in mobile home parks. He applauded Billy and Barb's Trailer Court for having a storm shelter for residents.

"We have to rejoice in the fact that even though that was an old shelter there, 80 people were able to get into that shelter and 80 people were saved," he said.

Bentley's wife, Dianne, joined her husband for the tour. She spoke with victims about rebuilding and the importance of having a safe place to take shelter. A tearful survivor gave the couple a hug while she showed them what was left of her home.

After surveying the damage in Limestone County, the National Weather Service confirmed at least an EF-3 tornado with winds of 136 to 165 MPH hit the area of Bay Hill Marina. The marina sustained significant damage.

The Clements Fire Department and Clements High School were also damaged by the storm.

The National Guard is also in Limestone County to assist with storm recovery.

Limestone County Schools were closed when the storms rolled through on Monday. After the damage and the threat of more severe weather, the school system remained closed Tuesday and Wednesday. They will meet Wednesday afternoon to make a decision about the rest of the week.

Gov. Bentley is seeking a disaster declaration from the president to help fund debris removal, overtime pay for crews and related costs. He is also checking to see if this area qualifies for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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